Astronomical Monuments

Standing stones are found all over the world, and most were erected in the Stone Age between 5000 and 2000 BC, although in Western Europe their major development occurred in the third millennium BC.  The monuments are set in stone so that they specifically to line up with the movements of the Sun and Moon, although scientists and historians continue to debate their purpose, construction, and meaning.  A lith is an indicating stone or rock like a megalith that is used to construct a structure or monument, either alone or together with other stones.  A menhir is a tall, vertically placed standing stone, whilst a dolmen is a table-like structure comprising a large slab laid horizontally on two smaller stone supports called orthostats, which are large thin slabs.  A cromlech is about the same thing as a dolmen and they were the first stone structures to be built in Wales and they even pre-date the pyramids in Egypt!  How were these enormously large structures built with those extremely heavy stones long before the creation of the wheel, let alone any other modern technology?

Sticks and stones may break my bones, and words may conflate to form a different meaning.  Aristotle and Galileo both observed swinging stones, and where Aristotle saw progress toward a state of rest was achieved, feeling that the sideways perturbations were accidental, while Galileo saw the swinging to be essential and the eventual cessation was accidental, caused by the phenomenon of friction, which was only first studied by Leonardo Da Vinci.  Some stone structures are thought to delineate a sacred space, perhaps leading people toward an area of worship, while a popular legend says that the wizard Merlin turned rows of people into stone.

Working with stone is regarded as a primitive skill and nobody really knows or understands the reasons why these complex structures were built.  It certainly took a lot of skill, and workmanship to accurately place and position these formations.  It is hard to resist thinking about how these great big stones were transported to the site where they were finally erected.  These ancient gregarious people certainly were full of zest, enthusiasm and energy and this must have been personal for them and they probably felt like a star is born, when they were completed.

Ancient people may have been just as smart as we are today and the Polynesians who built the stone statues on Easter Island were probably able to focus better than us, because they weren’t affected by the distractions that we have today.  The monuments will last for a long time, but they will eventually become spoilt by erosion.  In the photograph above, the stones appear to be dark and although their presence dominates the landscape, the absence of color exists in most of these structures.  I find them to be scrumptious, and I developed an appreciation for stone after I helped my father construct a stone barbecue pit for the backyard of our summer home up in the Poconos.  It incorporated a hand turned spit, which could easily accommodate a whole pig, but I would have to split a lot of wood to cook something that big.  A stone reading desk is very rare, but they do exist in some very old churches that were built in the thirteenth century.  Legend has it that a headless horseman rides by one of these churches at midnight and there is a pot of gold lying at the bottom of a dark pool guarded by an evil presence at another church, but you can’t believe everything that you read on the internet.

Written for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompt – Conflate, for Roger Shipp’s Daily Addictions prompt – Desk, for the Daily Spur prompt – Resist, for FOWC with Fandango – Zest, for Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt – A star is born, for Linda G. Hill’s ‘Life in progress’ JusJoJan prompt – Scrumptious, for January Writing Prompts – The absence of color, for Ragtag Community – Gregarious, for Di’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Spit Split Spoilt, for Sue Vincent’s January 9, 2020 Thursday photo prompt – Presence where the image shows an old photograph of a pathway lined with standing stones leading through a flower-filled meadow and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Personal.

Oh, Fudge!

I said a bad thing and I knew that I was in trouble.  I was too old to have my mouth washed out with soap, but I knew that there was a good chance that my dad was going to beat me with his belt.  Yea, back in the day discipline involved punishment by the strap being whacked on my backside.  I had been involved in a lot of chicanery, when I was young, so I got in trouble often.  Anyway, it was Valentine’s Day and I picked up a card for my next-door neighbor because I thought that she was cute and I was too shy to flirt with her.  She was probably out of my league, because we were both Freshmen in High School and she was always hanging out with Juniors and Seniors.  I wasn’t trying to date her; I was just trying to be friendly.

I was an envelope pusher; but I knew what limits I could go to without crossing the line.  I never said the a.. word, the f… word, or the s… word in front of my parents, as I knew that they would not approve of that, but when I was out of the house, ass, shit and fuck were in my vocabulary.  I could have said stupid stuff like apple jelly jumping jacks for ass, or seven brides for seven brothers for shit, or fudge for fuck, but I didn’t.  After school that day Bonnie started picking on me for the Valentine’s Day card that I sent to her, and she told me how lame I was.  That was the turning point and I blurted out, “You should close your legs because your breath smells”, which worked, as she shut up immediately after I said that.  I think I read that phrase in a book that was about gangs, but I was not really clear of what it exactly meant.

Bonnie’s face turned red and I figured that I had won and it was over, till we got off the bus and she said, “I am going to tell your father what a dirty mouth you have”, and that made me sweat.  She sat on her front porch the whole afternoon, till my dad came home from work and then she darted over to my dad with amazing speed and told him what I said.  I figured that since it was sort of a holiday that maybe my dad could table this till tomorrow, but no, he grabbed my arm as he was taking his belt off and he beat my bottom all the time saying that he did not raise his children to talk dirty.  I thought that my butt might hurt for a whole month after this, but it only hurt for a few days.  I did not talk to Bonnie for the rest of the year and I would not even say a word when she wore her garish clothing.

Written for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompt – Garish, for Roger Shipp’s Daily Addictions prompt – Table, for the Daily Spur prompt – Tomorrow, for FOWC with Fandango – Sweat, for Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt – Seven brides for seven brothers, for January Writing Prompts – Apple jelly jumping jacks, for Ragtag Community – Chicanery, for Di’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Dart Month Speed and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Turning.

Aurora Borealis

I never knew that microscopic turmoil resulting in dynamic instability is what gives the northern lights their eerie glow.  The luminescent glow typical of auroras comes from light that’s emitted when high-energy particles that have been ejected from the sun and waylaid by earth’s magnetosphere collide with atoms and molecules in our upper atmosphere.  It is kind of scary that these lights are the result of energy from outer space and the different colors are a mix of red with green or blue.  Northern Lights is also a type of cannabis that grows best if you aerate the soil.  It is known to slam your body into a wonderfully numbing, lazy mode, taking away your desire to do anything but sit on the couch and listen to music while you indulge in munchies and tell yourself that everything can wait till tomorrow.

I know that some gentlemen prefer blondes, but my bucket list includes seeing this light show while smoking some Northern Lights as I also gratify myself by listening to Bob Dylan sing ‘Rainy Day Women’ at the same time.  I am not sure how this will compare to the time when I went camping along the Onofre river and I found those 7000 years old stone age etchings and hung out with the local tribe eating sugar cane, but I am going to give it a try, as nothing ventured, nothing gained.  It felt so good to be welcomed to the jungle and see wild animals that were not caged in a zoo.  Having the freedom to sniff the jungle air was like smelling the breath of God.  When I got back from this trip, I discovered the perfect styling product for my hair, Northern Lights Matte Paste, which comes in a jar and is made with quality plant-derived ingredients, so it is not full of harsh chemicals.

Written for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompt – Gratify, for Roger Shipp’s Daily Addictions prompt – Give, for the Daily Spur prompt – Tomorrow, for Eugi’s Weekly Prompt – Luminescent, for FOWC with Fandango – Scary, for Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt – Gentlemen prefer blondes, for Devereaux Frazier and Beth Amanda of Midwest Fantasy Tuesday Writing Prompt – I never knew, for Linda G. Hill’s ‘Life in progress’ JusJoJan prompt – Mix, for January Writing Prompts – Along the Onofre river, for Ragtag Community – Aerate, for Di’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Sniff Paste Sugar and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Zoo.

Her Mother is a Drunk

I know that sounds cold, and I felt bad that she had such an awful woman as a mother, but her mom was beyond help and there was no possibility of her ever having any semblance a normal life because of this.  They were Irish and Irene’s mother was Kathleen and she developed a real thirst for beer, even before her husband left her and then things just got worse.  I met Irene one day when she was singin’ in the rain and wearing an alabaster pendant of Saint Christopher around her neck.  I was able to recognize the Saint, as my parents had one on the dashboard of their car and I said, “Your necklace was demoted in 1969, you are wearing the saint that ain’t a saint no more.”  Irene smiled at me and said, “I hear what you are saying, but he is not delible to me, as I feel that once you are a saint, you are always a saint.”  There was a creative wisdom in her words, even though I knew that Saint Christopher would never regain his former temporal power.

I asked her why she was out in the rain and she pointed up at a cloud and told me that she enjoyed watching it blow around in the wind.  She said that her mom was sleeping off a hangover and she usually gets angry when she wakes up, so it was best for her to be out of the house to let her simmer down and preserve the little peace that she had.  Irene said that her mom was all over her case about a missing scarf and when she heard her fall asleep, she decided to tiptoe out of there to muffle the sound of her footsteps.  The rain stopped and we could both smell the honeysuckle and I suggested that we take a ride in my car to go get some ice cream.  Irene said, “I call shotgun!”, which made me laugh because there were only two of us and I was driving, so where else would she affix her butt.

Written for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompt – Thirst, for Roger Shipp’s Daily Addictions prompt – Help, for the Daily Spur prompt – Cold, for FOWC with Fandango – Creative, for Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt – Singin in the rain, for Linda G. Hill’s ‘Life in progress’ JusJoJan prompt – Possibility, for Ragtag Community – Temporal, for Di’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Shotgun Cloud Wind, for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Wisdom and for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Wordle #162, hosted by Yves where the prompts are Alabaster Honeysuckle Delible Hear Tiptoe Recognize Preserve Muffle Little Simmer Affix Scarf.

Rat People

Every 12 years a new sign comes along and the first sign of the Chinese Astrology zodiac is the rat and I have known some rats.  My dad being born in 1924 was a rat.  Last year we had the Earth Pig and next year will be the Metal Ox.  A vicious cycle continues through the five elements which is also called the Five Movements, Five Phrases, Five Steps or Five States of Change where Wood fuels fire, Fire forms earth (volcanoes, ash, etc.), Earth contains metal, Metal carries water (buckets, pipes, etc.) and Water feeds wood (trees, plants, etc.).  The element of Fire is associated with the Snake and the Horse zodiac signs and Earth is for the Ox, Dragon, Goat and Dog, Metal is the Monkey and the Rooster and Water is the Pig and the Rat.  It has been 60 years since we last had the Metal Rat back in 1960, as sixty years divided by the twelve signs will give you the five elements.

What will happen in the new year, we will most likely be vulnerable to an attack by Iran, but we don’t know where will they strike us.  They could hit Silicon Valley causing an earthquake like in that James Bond movie A View To A Kill and that might result in the disappearance of S.V.  I read that the Chinese will make a New Year’s resolution just like the rest of us do.  The holiday is also called “Spring Festival” and the Chinese look forward to a holiday week being a new beginning, because of the promise that spring is coming.  Nothing says spring more to me than seeing a baby bird emerge or ascend from an aerie, whether it is an eagle’s nest, that of a falcon, hawk, or other bird of prey.  These birds usually make their nests in airy places, high in the air to stop other predators from reaching them.  Birds use a variety of methods to protect themselves and their offspring against enemies.  Sometimes, a bird will try to distract an intruder from its nest by making a noisy disturbance, but they are not able to call out fore, like people do to warn others on the golf course that a golf ball is being hit in their direction.

Rats are often associated with sewers and other dirty places, however the word microcephaly which is derived from the Greek language meaning “small head” is a condition where the head (circumference) is smaller than normal.  In Pakistan, they practice the novel custom of marrying their cousins, which may be the reason behind so many microcephaly cases cropping up there.  These children are known as rat people, because their sloping foreheads and narrow faces tend to give them a rodent like quality.  According to human rights groups, hundreds of young children are being exploited because of an ancient fertility tradition that leaves many children deformed and sold into begging.

A local legend, tells infertile women to go pray at Shah Daula’s shrine if they want to be granted children, but this comes at a terrible price where their first child will be born with microcephalic condition and it must be given to the shrine, or else any further children will have the same deformity.  This illicit practice has caused thousands of disabled children to become beggars at the shrine, as seeing their deformity will elicit emotions of sympathy.  The shrine stopped officially accepting microcephaly children in the 1960s when the government took over the site.  Some people feel that the small skulls and protruding noses and ears is a mix between Down’s syndrome and mongoloid children.  When people are living on less than four dollars a week, they are likely to put their children on the roads and make them beg.

Written for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompt – Ascend, for Roger Shipp’s Daily Addictions prompt – Stop, for the Daily Spur prompt – Novel, for FOWC with Fandango – Vulnerable, for December Writing Prompts – The disappearance of S.V., for Ragtag Community – New beginnings, for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Saturday Mix Double Take – Homophones hosted by weejars aka Sarah where she asks us to write about these homophone sets aerie – eagle’s nest, airy – breezy, and elicit – to draw out, illicit – unlawful, for Di’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Fore Four For, for GC and Sue W Weekly Prompts Word/Photo Color challenge – White Metal Rat and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Resolution.

Pig in a Poke

If you get a pig in a poke, you have bought or accepted something without knowing its value or seeing it first, but on the other hand, they say to never look a gift horse in the mouth.  This saying always confused me, as I originally thought it had something to do with the Trojan Horse, but it is about the length of a horses’ teeth, as horses become longer in the tooth as they age and if you look inside the mouth of a horse that you got as a gift, it is considered to be rude.  Doubting Thomas lacked the confidence to believe that Jesus had rose from the kingdom of the dead, so he would not be the best example of somebody that would buy a pig in a poke.

A poke is a bag or a sack, and in the old days, pigs were brought to market for sale in a cloth bag, thus the origin for a pig in a poke.  I also heard that the origin of this expression came from butchers putting cats in bags instead of pigs and as Will Rogers once said, “Letting the cat out of the bag is a whole lot easier than putting it back in.”  Unscrupulous sellers were notorious for pulling the old switcharoo, placing a cat in a bag, and instructing the buyer not to open it until they got home, so the pig couldn’t escape.  If the buyer was a real nut or stupid enough to carry a wiggling bag all the way home, only to have it revealed that when they opened the bag, that they had a feral cat instead of a piglet, then they deserve to be cheated.  I think it would make me smile if I saw a cat coming out of a bag that I thought was a pig.

This scheme continued for generations throughout Europe and eventually, “pig in a poke” became an idiom for any purchase made by an individual which turned out to be of far less value than they had been led to believe.  Consumers became wiser and they inspected the contents inside the bag, so they did not make a hideously huge mistake.  Knowing what was inside the bag allowed them to breathe freely, as peace of mind is its own award.  An adynaton is a figure of speech in the form of hyperbole taken to such extreme lengths as to insinuate a complete impossibility, like when pigs fly, because we all know that will never happen.  The phrase is often used for humorous effect, to scoff at over-ambition, but I just purchased some flying pig slippers and if you want to meet me in St. Louis, I will show them to you.

Written for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompt – Confidence, for Roger Shipp’s Daily Addictions prompt – Think, for the Daily Spur prompt – Smile, for FOWC with Fandango – Best, for Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt – Meet me in St. Louis, for Linda G. Hill’s ‘Life in progress’ JusJoJan prompt – Poke, for December Writing Prompts – Hideously huge, for Ragtag Community – Breathe, for Di’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Slipper Award Nut and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Kingdom.

Pegasus

I sat on the kerb with Herb, or if you are from the US, you might call it the curb, but me being from Brooklyn I spell it as curb, but pronounce it as kerb.  We watched as the lot across the street started burning and we were appalled that someone had started this fire in our neighborhood.  When the police came, Herb started singing, “We didn’t start the fire, it was always burning since the world’s been turning.”  It did not take much of an impulse to trigger Herb into putting on a performance, as he was always willing to take the leap and accommodate a crowd of people, ever since he was the lead Munchkin in a play about the wizard of Oz.

The trees in the lot were bare of leaves and it had been a very dry Summer, so this lot was ripe for a fire.  When it wasn’t so dry, we would see green, orange, puce, and yellow hues, the colors most often associated with earth and nature in this lot, but now all we saw was a brightly lit pall of white smoke showing through the trees and like all boys do, we tried to discern the pattern it was making.  The fume had a strong smell and I am sure that it was dangerous to inhale, but we were lucky as it was not blowing in our direction.  I told Herb that I could see shadow monsters in the smoke as it looked like the head of a dragon leading the smoke up, up and away.  Herb said it looked more like Pegasus because the smoke was pure white.  I started to get hungry, so I said to Herb, “We should go to Pegasus Pizza, because they flat out have the best crust.”

Written for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompt – Impulse, for Roger Shipp’s Daily Addictions prompt – Play, for the Daily Spur prompt – Performance, for FOWC with Fandango – Accommodate, for Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt – The wizard of Oz, for December Writing Prompts – Shadow monsters, for Ragtag Community – Puce, for Di’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Crust Kerb Flat, for Sue Vincent’s Thursday photo prompt – Fume where the photo shows a line of leaf-bare trees outlined against a pall of white smoke, brightly lit from within that appears to take the shape of the head of a mythical beast, for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver #256 hosted by Michael – Trigger and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Leap.

Another Renewal

I have been saying for a while that I want to learn something new, but I have not made a declaration of what that will be yet.  When I was young, I loved watching Zorro movies and I always thought about learning how to fence with a sword.  Zorro was an honest guy that hid his face behind a mask to protect his identity, which is kind of like Fandango wearing that bag over his head.  Douglas Fairbanks was the first Zorro and he played the role of a swashbuckler in several other movies.  Fencing looks easy enough to do, but it is way more than just banging swords together and this fashionable art of swordsmanship was practiced by the aristocracy.  I did learn that the remise is a renewal of an attack in fencing, but I never pursued this.

I had a job installing swimming pools and putting up privacy fences around them.  Fences usually face severe weathering, thus the finish will most likely last no more than three years before it is due for renewal.  My nephew has an invisible fence for his dogs, so they can run around in his yard and I could see a fence being useful for protecting chickens or bunnies from wild predators, but I read that sheep always find a way to get out of fences and maybe that is all part of being sheepish.  Trump is getting see-through fences instead of a wall.

Joshua marched around the city of Jericho seven times before the walls came tumbling down.  In 539 B.C., Persian soldiers breached the fortified walls of Babylon in the battle of Opis, which had a fortified defensive barrier known as the Median Wall.  The Great Wall of China did not prevent Genghis Khan and his Mongolian army from conquering 13th century China.  Constantinople’s ring of fortifications could not stop the Ottomans from taking over what is modern-day Istanbul.  Since the fall of the Berlin Wall nations have continued to build barriers on their borders.

Last night massive 20-ton sanitation trucks, weighted with an extra 15 tons of sand, were utilized to surround the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration in order to thwart any would be terrorists.  Times Square is in the Midtown Manhattan at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue and it stretches from West 42nd Street to West 47th.  Now that we are in a brand-new year, the light bulb moment will commence and the Christmas decorations will start to come down while the temperatures outside are still frigid.  It is a bit strange that while writing this post, I got an email titled Renewal by Anderson.

Written for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompt – Declaration, for Roger Shipp’s Daily Addictions prompt – First, for the Daily Spur prompt – Ship, for FOWC with Fandango – Honest, for Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt – 42nd Street, for December Writing Prompts – The light bulb moment, for Ragtag Community – Frigid, for Di’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Bunnies Saying Sheepish, for GC and Sue W Weekly Prompts – Something New and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Renewal.

I’ve Always Been a Dancer

In 2020, I will let go of my desire to become a ballet dancer.  Ever since I was three, I had dreams of being the littlest nutcracker.  I loved all the music and I adored dressing up in a tutu, but I am clumsy beyond belief and my dancing will never impress anyone.  I might as well face the music and finally say goodbye to the stellar career that I had planned on having.  It is an ending for me, but at the same time I can reflect on all the memories that I made, as the clock brings in a new year.  My New Year’s prayer is to become a lover, because I ain’t no dancer.  I will begin at the bottom and make it to the top, and I may stop and turn and go for a ride, hurrah that will be fun.

Written for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompt – Reflect, for Roger Shipp’s Daily Addictions prompt – Clock, for the Daily Spur prompt – Impress, for FOWC with Fandango – Ending, for Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt – New Year’s prayer, for the Devereaux Frazier Tuesday Writing Prompt – In 2020, I will let go of…, for December Writing Prompts – The littlest nutcracker, for Ragtag Community – Stellar, for Di’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Goodbye Finally Hurrah and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Begin.

Bridge Inspector

It’s a wonderful life, I love my job and since somebody has to do it, it might as well be me.  I routinely certify bridges applying strict standards and specifications to ensure that these bridges are safe for public use.  If the bridge meets my approval and is free of mechanical mishaps, then you can feel safe driving over it and not have to worry about being drown in a watery grave.  In the long run, I look at every fissure and try to discover why it has formed.  If I see that some of the metal has turned patina because of a hostile environment, then I will order it to be painted.  My labor consists of climbing in and around structures to access their condition trying while to catch any defects and I often end up ripping my shirt or getting blood on it.

I am a structural engineer that is specialized in Chemistry, Physics and the properties of materials and I concinnate my education with my work experience to be the consummate professional.  I utilize everything from snooper trucks to aerial drones to ground-penetrating radar and ultrasonic testing equipment, to listen to the different musical sounds that trucks will make when they march over the bridge which will help me determine if the top layer of concrete is separating from the layer that is below it.  I don’t want anyone experiencing peripeteia and singing ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ as they are driving over any of the bridges that I have inspected.

In my free time, which I have every evening, as it is best to check out the bridges in daylight, I dabble with pottery and I am currently working on a vase that can be used to hold umbrellas and I will keep this outside my front door.  I have a web page where you can view my aesthetically pleasing and functional pottery.  I have constructed vases in an array of playful shapes and sizes and I have made some pastel favor vases, which make unique wedding gifts and are perfect for a bridal shower.

Written for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompt – Discover, for Roger Shipp’s Daily Addictions prompt – Why, for the Daily Spur prompt – March, for Eugi’s Weekly Prompt – Patina, for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #47 where the image shows a two lane bridge spanning two mountains along a coastal road high above a deep gorge or inlet, for FOWC with Fandango – Musical, for Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt – It’s a Wonderful Life, for Let it Bleed Weekly Prompt – Goodbye, for December Writing Prompts – Mechanical mishaps, for Ragtag Community – Pastel, for Di’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Evening Shirt Blood, for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Labor and for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Wordle #161, hosted by Yves where the prompts are Vase Watery Catch Door Hostile Concinnate Peripeteia Page Fissure Run Drown Long.